Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Butter-fingers Washington off the hook

Fumbles easier to forgive after a win

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Paul Chiasson / the canadian press
Blue Bombers receiver Julian Feoli-Gudino flies over Montreal Alouettes defensive back Jamaan Webb on Friday night.

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Paul Chiasson / the canadian press Blue Bombers receiver Julian Feoli-Gudino flies over Montreal Alouettes defensive back Jamaan Webb on Friday night.

MONTREAL -- For a team with former special teams CFL players in the position of CEO, GM and head coach, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers certainly had a miserable Friday night on special teams at Molson Stadium.

In addition to having a convert blocked, the Bombers had fumbles on two punt returns in the second half -- both of them by Demond Washington -- during a 34-33 win over the Montreal Alouettes.

But if you were expecting head coach Mike O'Shea to call out Washington after the game, you were looking in the wrong place.

"We put him back out there because we trust him and he's the guy who's going to get us field position and get us out of jam," said O'Shea.

"All he's trying to do is make plays for his team."

All of which was pretty much what Washington's teammates were also saying, mindful the same man who fumbled twice on Friday was instrumental in their win a week earlier over Ottawa, thanks to a kickoff return for a TD.

"As soon as that game was over, I went up to him and told him, 'We win as a team, we lose as a team.' And it certainly wasn't just those fumbles that put us in that position," said defensive end Jason Vega.

Washington, who went out of his way Friday night to make himself available to the media, was grateful for the late fourth-quarter heroics by the Winnipeg offence that made his flubs a footnote to a very memorable Winnipeg win.

"Those guys are outstanding. They all rallied around me and told me they got my back. They went down and scored and I'm speechless about that. I know it's about me messing up right now, but it should also be about the great job those guys did on offence at the end. That was a hell of a drive."

-- -- --

Slotback Julian Feoli-Gudino, who made the 18-yard TD catch late in the fourth quarter that won Winnipeg the game, was a free-agent signing by the Bombers during the off-season.

His former employer, the Toronto Argonauts, opted not to re-sign a player who was almost exclusively a special teams player in Toronto last year.

Which combined for sweet vindication Friday night, particularly with Feoli-Gudino's game-winner coming in a city where he grew up and learned to play the game.

"I'm just glad to play football," said Feoli-Gudino. "Sweet or not, Toronto gave up on me. I don't know -- it's just an opportunity to play football and make plays. I've done that my whole life and I'm pretty happy to be able to do it in my hometown."

-- -- --

The Bombers took way too many penalties on Friday night, finishing the evening with 15 penalties for 158 yards.

Vega said his team should consider themselves fortunate. "We've got to get it together, honestly. We're shooting ourselves in the foot. We didn't deserve to win this game by any stretch of the imagination...

"We can't continue to make those kinds of mistakes and hope to win."

Among the leading offenders for the Bombers Friday night was offensive lineman Cordaro Howard, who drew three illegal procedure flags in his CFL debut at guard in relief of injured Chris Greaves.

-- -- --

The Bombers announced Saturday they have acquired import linebacker Abraham Kromah from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for future considerations.

Kromah spent the last two seasons in Saskatchewan, but had been on the one-game injured list this season in Hamilton, who acquired him during the off-season.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2014 B3

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